The benefits and challenges of White River are newsworthy.
Randolph County fish kill unresolved
More than two years after 100,000 fish died, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is levying a penalty against the owner of a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) accused of causing the kill. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is continuing a separate investigation.
The accusation states that Chalfant Farms of Randolph County sprayed 200,000 gallons of hog manure on a field upstream of the fish kill during June 2012. The penalty from IDEM includes a fine and the planting of hundreds of trees. For more information, read Major fish kill still unsettled in The StarPress, October 8, 2012. Indiana strengthened its regulations this past summer, as reported by Indiana living Green in Indiana updates CAFO manure regulations, July 17, 2012.
Concern over CAFOs is growing among groups such as The Pew Charitable Trust and Indiana CAFO Watch. Friends of the White River share that concern because of the potential for long-term contamination of our waterways. For a big-picture view of the issue, visit Factory Farm Map.
St. Joan of Arc river trek
Early in October, Friends volunteers provided a river experience for fourth graders from St. Joan of Arc School in Indianapolis. Our intrepid young adventurers learned lessons on paddling skills, water safety, water quality and river wildlife, all while enjoying the scenic stretch of White River from Holliday Park to Rocky Ripple.
Enjoy our St. Joan of Arc slide show for some scenic shots and expressive artwork.
Friends of the White River lost a dedicated volunteer and board member this week with the passing of Tom Jeatran. Tom’s effervescent good cheer and willingness to serve inspired us all. He supported many of our efforts, including cleanups, recruiting, and educating young people about the river, the watershed and wildlife. He will be missed.
Tom Jeatran helps a boy learn how to fish at the DNR fishing pond during the 2007 Indiana State Fair.
Channel 13 piece on milfoil
The eurasian milfoil invasion of White River has spread quickly in recent years and another local news organization is helping to spread the story. WTHR Channel 13 reporter Mary Milz took a boat ride with Friends Executive Director Kevin Hardie and Friends volunteers Dan Vallesky and Brant Cowser, and filed this story: Invasive weed clogging Indiana waterways.
Despite a comment to the contrary, milfoil does not “improve the water quality and make a better habitat for water born creatures” and no one —no one — wants another chemical discharge that kills five million fish.
Friends in the news
A recent editition of Current in Fishers takes a look at the unrivaled value White River brings to Central Indiana, as well as its Friends and longtime advocate Kevin Hardie. Read “Rolling with the tide: Friends of the White River advocate for water quality, utility” in the June 5, 2012 edition.
Join us for “Art of the Fly”
Learn about the unique craft of fly tying at a special event, free to the public, on Sept. 17 between 6 and 8 p.m. at the Indianapolis Art Center, located at 820 East 67th Street on White River’s banks just north of Broad Ripple.
Reggie Alexander, a member of FOWR’s board of directors and a master tyer, will demonstrate basic techniques and answer questions during the evening. Attendees will see what it takes to try their hand at tying a fly, as well as have the opportunity to win select door prizes related to the river.
There will also be information on where to access White River for fishing, and considerations connected with consumption of species commonly found in this resource right here in the midst of a city.
Friends and its members continue to celebrate our waterway with a variety of activities scheduled during the month of September in and around Indianapolis as part of the second annual White River Festival.
The events are a partnership effort between a wide variety of organizations that range from on-water volunteer efforts to arts and educational programs. Check out the calendar on the Festival web site for more details!
Hamilton County river cleanup
Join with hundreds of other volunteers to clean the banks of the White River in Hamilton County during River Clean-Up 2012. This event, now in its 18th year, takes place September 8 beginning at 9 a.m., working out of two riverside locations. Groups and individuals alike are encouraged to participate. For more information, download the River Clean-Up 2012 flyer (PDF, 171 KB).
Milfoil & duckweed
Combine a mild winter with an early hot spring and the result is an explosive growth of invasive Eurasian milfoil in White River. A growing problem in White River the past few years, the outbreak this year is one of the worst. Physical removal of the plant is nearly impossible because it reproduces through segmentation, so pulling plants simply creates more plants. Read “Weeds, algae choke Indianapolis-area waterways” in the June 7, 2012 edition of The Indianapolis Star.
PSA about river cleanups
The City of Indianapolis has created a public service announcement about the annual downtown river cleanup, in preparation for next year’s 25th staging of the annual spring event. You can watch the video on YouTube and be inspired!
Measuring waterway pollution
Are our waterways more polluted or are we just better at knowing how polluted they are? “Water pollution figures can be apples and oranges” in the June 3 edition of The Indianapolis Star sheds some light on the subject.
Fun work day
Thanks to everyone who braved the weather and pitched in for the 24th Annual White River Cleanup, held Saturday, April 14 in downtown Indianapolis. It was a very productive day and you worked hard! Now you can watch a photo slide show of the cleanup. Thanks again!
And we want to give a big, shout-out thank you to all the 2012 White River Cleanup sponsors, whose support and efforts made this event possible!
You also can view a slide show posted at the web site of The Indianapolis Star by stalwart, not-afraid-to-get-muddy photographer Frank Espich: Annual White River Cleanup.
River closed at Meridian
Due to bridge repair, White River is closed by a rip-rap dam at Meridian Street in Indianapolis.
Earth Day and deep ideas
Join us for Earth Day Indiana as we celebrate the ongoing recognition of White River’s value to the community. The free event this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at White River State Park will enable attendees to learn about plans by the City of Indianapolis to improve the quality of the waterway and its tributary streams. The Friends will be there to dispense literature, recruit new volunteers and answer questions.
Earth Day Festival attendees who provide an e-mail address can win a commemorative tee shirt from the 24th annual downtown bank sweep, held earlier this month. During the course of four hours on a rainy Saturday morning, individuals, families and businesses recruited by Friends collected more than 20 tons of trash in just four hours.
Deep Rock Tunnel project begins
In a symbolic nod to Earth Day, city officials this week announced the start of construction that will eventually reduce combined storm sewer overflows. Friends Executive Director Kevin Hardie spoke out in support of the long-needed improvements as the organization’s involvement with hands-on efforts by volunteers were praised by local officials.
While they last, learn more through these news links:
Work begins on $180M project to halt sewage discharge by Russ McQuaid, Fox 59, April 25, 2012
Work begins on Indy tunnel by Jon Murray, The Indianapolis Star, April 26, 2012
Learning on the fly
Want to learn how to fly fish but don’t know where to start? Join members of the Reel Women-Reel Men Fly Fishing Club for an exciting day of instruction. You’ll spend the morning discussing basics and learning the mechanics of a good cast. After lunch, you’ll head to the White River for some on-river practice.
The class takes place at Holliday Park in Indianapolis on Saturday, May 5, from 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Cost is $25 per person. All equipment will be provided. Pre-registration is required by calling (317) 327-7180. Participants should bring a lunch and must have a valid fishing license.
Fish survey presentation coming
Join us as we learn more about White River’s cleanest bill of health in years. We will host a presentation by Indiana Department of Natural Resources biologists who collected 7,128 fish from 57 species at sample stations between Anderson and Indianapolis this past autumn. This was the greatest number of species collected since the fish kill, and further proof that the river has recovered.
Our guests will be fisheries research biologist Sandy Clark-Kolaks, who led the survey, and Bill James of DNR’s Fish & Wildlife Division. Their presentation will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28 in the Holliday Park Nature Center (See map.)
The Quiet Sports Expo is returning to the Indiana State Fairground for the third year, from February 17 to 26, 2012. Part of the Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show, the QSE is dedicated to sports powered by humans.
Save the date
Planning has begun for the 24th Annual White River Cleanup. Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 14 and watch this space for future news updates.
If you pitched in for the 2011 cleanup, you may enjpy our slide show of the day’s photos:
Free Public University: